What’s a fleet account worth? 13x a consumer customer

Intevacon has long understood tiStock_000002105054Smallhe value of a fleet card, and we are always excited to see our customers grow their fleet business and profit after adopting our system (see our favorite case studies here).

A recent Oil Express article further corroborated the value of fleet card accounts in its article titled “What a fleet card account is worth” (Vol. XXXVIII, Issue No 15). This article details how Sunoco is expanding its fleet card business by going after house accounts, noting that the top industries for fleet are lawn and garden, electrical, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, pest control, construction, roofing and freight transportation. Sunoco also suggests that retailers should provide discounts to their commercial accounts as a further means of gaining loyalty. Courting these fleet customers is well worth the effort—according to the Oil Express article, the sale volume generated by one new fleet customer is typically equal to that of 13 consumer customers. The article further expounds on the average number of gallons of fuel purchased on the fleet card, as well as the additional dollars that are spent inside the convenience store.

Intevacon’s petroleum marketers have always understood that house accounts are a valuable way to conduct business. While many of our customers do offer discounts to their fleet customers, this is not necessarily the norm. Many times, the relationship and extended credit between the petroleum marketer and his customer is enough to foster loyalty. The average fleet card transaction dollar value is higher than the average consumer transaction dollar value (13x more valuable according to Sunoco above). In addition, petroleum marketers using Intevacon save their margins by eliminating the transaction fee associated with traditional credit cards.

Last year was a good year for the convenience store industry. NACS released their 2014 industry statistics this week, and petroleum marketers ought to be feeling pretty good with the results. According to NACS, industry sales in 2014 reached $697.5 billion dollars with a record in-store sale total of $214.9 billion (a 4.6% increase from 2013). Gasoline prices were reported to be 4% lower in 2014 than the previous year, but the industry still saw an increase of 18.8% in fuel margins this year. This equated to an average of 22.2 cents per gallon in 2014 compared to 18.7 cents per gallon in 2013. With all of this growth, there is also opportunity for petroleum marketers to grow their lucrative house accounts and continue with positive growth into 2015. And there is no reason to give your profits away to the credit card companies and banks. Another article posted by NACS cites that the industry’s pre-tax profits of 10.4 billion dollars amounted to 1 billion dollars less than what the industry paid in credit card fees. With Intevacon, interchange fees are eliminated, and perhaps even more valuable for your fleet accounts, you are able to maintain a relationship with your customers.

Find out more about the Intevacon Fleet Card System by reaching out at 678-739-4450 or emailing moreinfo@intevacon.com.

Relationship-based Loyalty

saleAttracting customers is the goal of all retailers. The effort to attain this position can be costly depending on the methods employed. A study by COLLOQUY published in a recent NACS article states that the typical American household carries membership to about 29 loyalty programs, while only being active in 12 of them. What’s more, the convenience and fuel retail industry saw a 3% drop in loyalty program participation by the end of 2014. The cost of hosting a loyalty program, as well as potential additional discounting, means that some loyalty programs really do come with a premium.

The whole point of loyalty programs is to achieve customer loyalty with repeat business. Sometimes the cost of a loyalty program is worth the expense if a truly loyal customer relationship is achieved. And then sometimes, the retailer attracts a deal-seeker on one specific day, never to see that customer again. An earlier article published by NACS titled “When It Comes to Loyalty, Agree to Disagree” states that about 73% of consumers believe that loyalty programs should be a way for brands to show consumers how loyal they are to them as a customer. Many retailers think that the relationship should be the other way.

Intevacon likes loyalty too, but we have a different approach to achieving this end. We equip our customers to foster relationships with their customers. Our petroleum marketers gain exclusive loyalty by offering a fleet card at their sites. This card offers the benefit of fleet management such as driver and vehicle allocations, product restrictions, and real-time controls. User access is also available if petroleum marketers want to offer this added benefit. Special pricing is available for the petroleum marketer who wants to give his/her customers cost plus or cents per gallon discounts. Our loyalty comes with repeat business every time your customer uses his/her fleet card at your sites.

An article in PYMNTS.COM titled “Bread, Bananas and Building Better Customer Retention” describes the loyalty program cycle perfectly in this statement: “They are product shoppers – looking for a specific item on a specific day – sort of like the daily deal seeker. They may not come back, which means there is some possibility that the effort spent acquiring them may have only netted one – sometimes deeply – discounted sale.” At Intevacon, we hope that you capture the loyalty of every customer who comes through your doors. Even better, we want to help you gain the relationships that sustain both you and your customers in business.

If you want to find out more about Intevacon or talk to someone on our team, please call 678-739-4450 or email moreinfo@intevacon.com.

Finding the Right Legacy

shutterstock_2122894A recent article published by PYMNTS.com titled “Why Worldpay Is Changing The Payments Conversation” highlighted an interesting facet of our ever-expanding world of technology—legacy systems. While the term legacy is often favorably attributed when it comes to family history, this is a negative word when it comes to technology. The article starts by reminiscing the 1980s with its permed hair and shoulder pads. That’s ok, everything has a season. But then the article talks about old business languages that have remained entrenched with businesses long after perms and shoulder pads went out of style. This picture of business operations makes Intevacon thankful to be a product of the 21st century where legacies can be delegated to family history instead of old software.

The Worldpay quote below might be all-too-familiar to programmers in the industry:

“What most [companies] have done is basically built a cool little tool that sits in front of legacy Base 24 [system] that’s run by Global [Collect] or First Data. And then [they say] ‘don’t ask me to do any more than what’s in that ISO 85-83 interface and don’t call me up and ask for help, because [all] I’ve done is create a simple API that makes it easier for you to connect to the legacy world.’ So it’s a translator that sits in front of the legacy [system],” Tony Catalfano, CEO of Worldpay US told MPD CEO Karen Webster in a recent interview.

An article published by Deloitte in the Wall Street Journal says, “Legacy systems’ lack of business capability, combined with the retirement of the baby boomers who developed, implemented, and maintained them, will likely force CIOs to address them. And as they consider future technology investments, they should look to confirm they’re making decisions that won’t imprison their companies tomorrow.”  Intevacon understands that petroleum marketers may be operating on legacy systems, and our platform can interface with these systems for customers who want to get a bit more mileage out of their current equipment investment.

As stated earlier, Intevacon was founded a little later than the 1980s—2010 to be exact. Our business may be relatively young, but its foundation started in 1984 when the founder, Kerry Myrick, started working in the industry. We have the wisdom of age and the flexibility of youth. One great thing about being young is that our business is built with the most innovative design and the most current technology. Our system is completely web-based, and all transactions are processed in real time. Intevacon customers are able to log into our system from any computer anywhere in the world, and everything runs smoothly. Our greatest legacy will be the people who make Intevacon great.

If you want to find out more about Intevacon or talk to someone on our team, please call 678-739-4450 or email moreinfo@intevacon.com.

Finding the best deal

The recent low gas prices have made a lot of consumers happy. According to a NACS article published this week, 91% of consumers say that the lower refuelinggas prices are good for the economy, and 95% said that the lower gas prices make it easier for them to go on vacation. This is good news for petroleum marketers, who prosper when fuel consumption increases.

Even with lower gas prices, though, consumers still want to find the best deal on fuel. A survey conducted by NACS and reported by CSP indicates that 71% of consumers said that price was the most important factor in deciding where to buy gasoline. What’s more, NACS reports that 63% of consumers were willing to drive 5 minutes out of the way to save 5 CPG, 72% were willing to pay cash, and 65% pay with cash or use a loyalty card to save money.

What are consumers doing with the money that they are saving at the pump? According to the Wall Street Journal, consumers are saving about $60 per month from lower gas prices, but these dollars are not all translated into increased discretionary spending. As stated in the PYMNTS.com article titled “Americans Pocketing Gas-Price Savings,” about 25% of the monthly savings are being spent on groceries, clothing, and fast food. Given that about 35% of gas customers claim to also go into the store to make purchases after fueling, these fuel savings may bring more consumers into the retail stores.

Intevacon offers two products that can help attract customers looking for the best deal, but even better, our solution provides a level of loyalty that keeps consumers returning to your sites. With the Intevacon fleet card, petroleum marketers can sign up businesses to fuel exclusively at their sites. To attract these customers, the petroleum marketer may choose to offer CPG discounts, cost plus pricing, or any other discount arrangement to achieve the business. With online access, all fleet users can manage their accounts and view transactions in real time.

For consumers, petroleum marketers can offer the Intevacon Prepaid Card that can be loaded and reloaded with cash (or any other method of payment). POP discounts at the pump provide the CPG discount at the time of the transaction. Given that about three quarters of the consumer population bases their selection on discount potential, this card will attract loyal customers while also increasing cash flow.

Intevacon is in business to see the petroleum marketer succeed, and we design our products to achieve this result.  Our fleet cards and prepaid cards can help increase volume and keep margins high.  If you want to find out more about Intevacon or talk to someone on our team, please call 678-739-4450 or email moreinfo@intevacon.com.

Trade Show Season 2015

locIt’s that time of year again—the approach of spring and a chance to meet with our customers at Trade Shows! 

Check out our Trade Show schedule below, and come visit us at the shows!  We’ll keep the list updated if we add any shows or find out more details.

•  Western Petroleum Marketers Association (WPMA) National Convention and Convenience Store Expo: February 17-19, Las Vegas, NV. Booth 203

•  Southeast Petro-Food Marketing Exposition: March 4-5, Myrtle Beach, SC. Booth1508

•  Gulf Coast Food and Fuel: March 11-12, Biloxi, MS. Booth 107

•  MPact: March 24-26, Indianapolis, IN. Booth 538

•  VeriFone Customer Forum: April 19-22, St. Pete Beach, FL.

 Southwest Fuel and Convenience Expo: May 6-8, Ft. Worth, TX. Booth 325

• Gilbarco 2015 Retail Technology Conference: May 18-21, Myrtle Beach, SC.

• NCR Synergy 2015: June 22-25, Orlando, FL

• NACS: October 11-14, Las Vegas, NV

We can be contacted at 678-739-4450 or reached by email at moreinfo@intevacon.com.plane

Branding

Branding carries a whole new level of significance to the petroleum marketer. We are all familiar with the implications of oil brand selection—Marathon, BP, Shell, Chevron, etc.—and petroleum marketers are very intentional with this decision. But what about your brand?i---fb

Customers chasing an oil brand are just as likely to visit a competitor where their fuel rewards card is also accepted. Your most loyal customers are the ones who identify with the brand that you have established over time. This brand, your brand, is more valuable than any promotion or canopy endorsement.

The greatest brand loyalty is achieved when value is added and a relationship is formed. In a retail environment, there are less distinguishing opportunities to develop a relationship and truly add value to the customer experience. Clean bathrooms and low prices are nice, but they are not uncommon enticements.

Intevacon cares about branding too, and that is why we work so hard to provide the best fleet card solution in the industry. We stand behind our product, and we walk beside our marketers to offer a solution that will help them grow their businesses. Offer a fleet card with your brand and help your customers start to identify your stores as their stores.

By offering your fleet customers a card that represents your brand, you are creating a business relationship and giving your customers the tools to better manage their fleet business. Intevacon makes automating house charges easy, and we have seen our petroleum marketers grow their fleet business by leveraging the brand that they have spent years cultivating in the community.

Want to find out more about Intevacon? Give us a call at 678-739-4450 or email moreinfo@intevacon.com.

Hyper-Localization: Serving Community Businesses

saleWith the Christmas season upon us, consumers are more and more cognizant of the retail experience, and their expectations continue to change with trends and technology. Of late, big box stores have skinnied down to convenience store sizes, online shopping takes on new meaning as grocery stores give delivery their best shot, and a barrage of payment options seems to overwhelm headlines.

Convenience Store News calls 2014 the Year of Retail Fragmentation to describe the multiple shopping formats that face consumers. One way that Convenience Store News suggests that convenience stores stay competitive is through a hyper-localized approach. This means that the convenience stores will focus on the local community and its local products. Intevacon has long seen the benefit of focusing on the community and serving its fleet users.

A surprising number of petroleum marketers offer credit to fleet customers for the purchase of fuel at their stores. Customer loyalty is the reason that most petroleum marketers choose to host these “house accounts.” The Intevacon system makes hosting house accounts easier by automating the process and offering a more streamlined experience for both the petroleum marketer and the fleet business owner.

Hosting house accounts can be a successful gesture to attract local business, but the benefits of automating this process are huge. Fleet card customers on the Intevacon system are able to use their fleet card at the pump or in the store. Additionally, product restrictions, credit limits, and driver assignments are easily set up through our system. User access allows the business owners to log into their own accounts to view card details, transactions, invoices, and reports.

Intevacon values relationships, and we truly believe that this model is successful because the petroleum marketer maintains a direct relationship with his/her customers. With the Intevacon fleet card, local businesses become loyal businesses.

Want to find out more about Intevacon? Give us a call at 678-739-4450 or email moreinfo@intevacon.com.